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I need a system for having instant access to particular directories while not taking up too much screen space (ie: IMO, object dock is too obtrusive). At this point I am making short cuts to various "most used" folders onto my desktop... I need a better system.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you are using Windows 7, it's really easy to quickly access your folders without installing any applications. First of all, make sure that you have Windows Explorer pinned to the taskbar (it is there by default).

If it is there, open it and navigate to the folder you want to access with ease. Select the folder and simply drag-and-drop it's icon onto the Windows Explorer icon in the taskbar.

After you pinned all the folders you need, you can quickly access them by right-clicking on the icon of Windows Explorer on the taskbar. You will see the folders under the 'Pinned' section on the top. You can rearrange these by drag-and-drop.

See images here: IMAGES

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Now that I think about it, this is the best solution. +1 – Zombies Jan 1 '10 at 17:48

A few ideas from lifehacker:

medalfolders puts all your favorite locations two clicks away in the system tray.

folder-guide adds user-defined folders to your right-click menu for quick, easy access to any number of favorite folders.

direct-folders jumps quickly to any folder on your filesystem .

folder-menu adds quick access to your favorite applications and folders through a popup navigation menu—and it even works in those irritating File Open dialogs.

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Have a look at Anvir Task Manager Free. Among tons of other useful features, you can access your favorite (Add Folder To This List) and most recent locations from the system tray:

enter image description here

A portable version is also available.

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Here is a nice trick to pin individual folders to the taskbar in Windows 7.

Basically you create an empty .txt file, the rename it to .exe. Right click it and select "Pin to taskbar".

Once it's done right click the new "pin" and change the shortcut to the folder that you wish.

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